Please wish us well and keep us in your prayers as Sylvia and I head back to Washington DC. On the way there, we will detour to Baltimore Maryland. We have been invited to present before the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. On this Sunday, November 14th, I will speak for exactly 10 minutes in an effort to convince the Catholic Church to accept the Homeless-Home Coming statue at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. on the grounds of Catholic University.
The statue is the story of a chance encounter between strangers, who have lost all material things. Warming themselves at a fire barrel, the little girl, Colleen, sees, then, calls to the old woman. She urges her father to reach out to the African American woman to share the fire. Bent over from life’s burdens and trudging through the woods, she has lost all hope. She is coming from nowhere and going nowhere. Colleen realizes that the old woman is also suffering some kind of visual impairment as she wanders through the darkness. Ms. Anateen, is sure she could not possibly dare enter the camp of strangers. Colleen repeatedly calls to the old woman to join them. “Come on, come on,” she called as if calling to her puppy. Finally, John, a Veteran and Colleen’s father, takes her lead with a broad smile and a booming voice, “Come on ahead old woman. All are welcome here!” The woman, also destitute, very cold and very tired, is overwhelmed by the invitation. She drops her bags. Air escapes her lungs. Her hand covers her heart. Her gaze turns toward the heavens. Humbly, she offers up a whispered prayer, “Thank you Jesus.” While my concept, the sculpting was a collaborative effort between Timothy P. Schmalz (heralded as “The Michelangelo of our times”) and myself when it was sculpted over 4 1/2 years, over the phone.